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Monday, May 22, 2006, 3:02 pm

The Lottery Approach To “Winning The War On Terror”

By Brian Zick

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Kevin Drum calls attention to an excellent point, noting that the NSA spying methodology is "fundamentally a system for identifying criminals by statistical analysis." It's all about betting the odds on hitting a jackpot. And since all of us has won the State Sooper Lotto several times, or at least we have many close personal friends who have won it a whole bunch, we all know exactly how effective that method is.

And it's not just that the chances for efficiency and effectiveness are exceedingly slim; in addition it's about "profiling." It's law enforcement by "pattern recognition" group stereotyping. Kevin asks, "And if we can do it for suspected terrorists and child molesters, how about tax evaders and unlicensed gun owners? Can we tap their phones too because they're the "kind of person" who might be breaking the law? Should a court grant a search warrant based on a statistical pattern rather than a showing of specific fact?"

How many times have you driven by the bank lately? Has it been a suspicious number of times? Like, could you maybe be a bank robber casing the joint? And I don't mean do you think it's been suspicious, I mean do you think George Bush might decide* it has been suspcious? (*He is the Decider, after all. And he could decide your political affiliation fits the profile. It's not like there's a court to determine any reasonableness.)
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